Staying safe in a dangerous world

Nassau County police officials say we all must act


Less than a day after the Boston Marathon bombings, Mesitva Ateres Yaakov High School was evacuated on April 16 due to a reported bomb threat against the Lawrence school.

Fortunately no one was hurt and the student perpetrator was taken into custody. (Though the school didn’t want to press charges, the district attorney’s office did).

Incidents such as the bombings in Boston or a threat to bomb a school, though rare, are becoming events that everyone from law enforcement agents to school officials must deal with.

To create more public awareness about being vigilant and what the police have done, are doing and will continue to do, a community security briefing was held at Yeshiva of South Shore in Hewlett on April 18.

“If we learned anything post 9/11, it is the importance of sharing information and intelligence,” said Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, who addressed the small, but attentive gathering.

Within 10 minutes of learning about the marathon bombings, Nassau implemented a reaction plan, said Police Commissioner Thomas Dale. “I increased patrols and police went to specific locations, the idea was to show the [patrol] car,’” said Dale, who added that county police received a call from a motorist who saw someone driving erratically on I95. “It turned out to be nothing, but the point is if you ‘see something, say something.’”

Information is either distributed or withheld to the media and the public depending on how law enforcement seeks to proceed with an investigation according to Det. Sgt Pat Ryder of Nassau’s Asset Forfeiture/Intelligence Unit.

“Nowadays to fight terrorism you can’t just be Nassau County, you have to be regional,” Dale said.

In explaining why the bomb threat to Mesivta Ateres Yaakov that he characterized as “significant” was taken so seriously, Chief of Department Steve Skyrnecki said: “At times we can’t take a chance that ‘I know him, he wouldn’t do it,’ we all must act.”

More police will be present at large events such as last Sunday’s 5K run in North Woodmere County Park and the upcoming Long Island Marathon, police officials said. “When we have information that suggest we may have a problem or events around the world occur, we will have an increased police presence,” Skrynecki said.

In addition to the police, the Five Towns also has about 30 men and women who make up auxiliary unit 109 patrolling the communities. In logging more than 8,000 volunteer hours, it is one of the largest and most active auxiliary police units in all of Nassau, according to Capt. Danny Gluck, the unit’s commander.

The message delivered by the speakers — most of whom were police officials — was heard by Rabbi David Kramer, executive director of the host yeshiva. “I definitely got something out of it and I appreciated the forthrightness of the people who spoke, they were professional and there were no platitudes,” he said.